Interest rates on most Treasuries hit their five-year lows during this past week while the stock market reached new peaks. At the same time, more price volatility returned to the government market: up half a point, down half a point, for no apparent reason. Perhaps the market is tired after such an extended and decisive move, or maybe buyers are closing their books for the year while the dealers try to protect their profits.
With the holidays now upon us, many people consider giving securities as presents. Here is a list of a wide variety of fixed-income securities. Perhaps some of them will strike a receptive chord for a gift for family, friends or oneself.
Commercial banks offer money-market demand accounts that are returning 7.55 percent. They also are offering investment certificates of deposit, available in minimums of $500 to $99,000: for six to 12 months at 7.8 percent, for 12 to 24 months at 8.5 percent, and in longer maturities of 48 to 60 months at 9.75 percent.
The following T. Rowe Price open-ended mutual funds offer the following seven-day annualized taxable returns: prime reserve money-market fund, 7.41 percent; U.S. Treasury money-market fund, 6.51 percent, and, at the other end of the taxable spectrum, the high-yield fund, 13.01 percent. Returns available in the Rowe Price tax-exempt family include the tax-exempt money fund, 5.1 percent; short-intermediate fund, 6.23 percent, and the much longer, high-yield fund, 8.51 percent.
John Nuveen & Co. offers a series of uninsured and insured tax-exempt unit investment trusts (UITs). If insured, they are rated AAA, but will return less than an uninsured UIT. These UITs are available at a cost of about $100 per unit plus accrued interest.
For investors interested in taxable income, E. F. Hutton is offering a high-grade Ginnie Mae investment trust in $1 units with an annualized yield of 11.01 percent. Because regular Ginnie Maes pay principal and interest monthly, this trust is set up to pay out the interest, if desired, and to reinvest the principal back into the trust.
An item that would fit well into IRA accounts would be zero-coupon bonds. In an IRA, the gain, or appreciation, is nontaxable and affords a good interest compounding vehicle. Different brokerage houses offer Treasury zero-coupon bonds under various names -- Tigers, Cats, Lions and so forth -- whose ownership is denoted by a "receipt." A pure Treasury zero known as a Treasury Strip is available, and ownership is recorded at the Treasury in "book entry" form. Yields available on Strips and their approximate prices are as follows:Treasury Strips Maturity Yield Price 5-year: 9.05% 649.50 10-year: 9.45% $401.80 20-year: 9.90% $146.50 30-year: 9.45% 63.40
At maturity, Strips (and all zeros) are redeemed at $1,000 per bond.
Hope something strikes you fancy.